There’s a multiplayer mode in Dragon Age: Inquisition, a cooperative dungeon crawl for up to four players that is bolstered by many of the same role-playing game hooks that give the single-player portion of the game its strength. The play boils down to running through a series of rooms and corridors as you beat the crap out of various baddies, but the elements supporting that play — skill trees, gear crafting, unlockable characters, and more — create a very deep experience.
Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of hand-holding in this mode, and the learning curve is rather steep in the sense that success is measured by progress rather than completion. Read on to learn all about that and more in this helpful guide to get you started on Inquisition‘s rewarding multiplayer grind.
Here’s how it works
Every run-through of an Inquisition multiplayer match is different, due to the way that all the maps and enemy/loot placements change from game to game, but there’s a basic pattern that they all follow. A typical match on one of the three themed maps unfolds across five “Zones” in which there are different sets of objectives to complete, ranging from “Kill everything in sight” to “Protect this dude (while also killing everything in sight)” to “Take out this target (while also killing everything in sight).” Evil enemy murder is the only constant.
Clearing a zone of enemies gets you a key that opens a door into the next area, while completing an objective gets you some extra gold as a reward. A match follows that basic pattern through the first four zones, all of which follow a mazelike-but-ultimately-linear path. And it’s a path that always changes from play-through to play-through; you visit the same zones on each map again and again, but the layout is completely randomized.
The fifth and final zone in a match is essentially a boss wave. The environment is more open than it is in the other zones, and it’s completely devoid of enemies when you first enter. The enemies don’t spawn until you plant a flag in the marked location; once that’s down, your group has to survive against a large group of enemies that are supported by a boss. In each match, there’s only ever one type of enemy — either Red Templars, Demons, or Venatori — and that enemy type dictates the boss you face in the final wave.
Simple to understand, challenging to master. The balance doesn’t scale based on the number of players in your group, so regardless of the difficulty setting (there are three), the game always assumes that four players are in your group. Much like the single-player game, there’s also no healing outside of potions, with one notable exception. There’s a room at the start of every new zone where a magical power source that you can interact with automatically heals everyone before the next zone begins.